P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Exam cancelled, suspension of 11 recommended
Mass copying in elementary school
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
While ordering the cancellation of the Class V annual examination conducted at Government Elementary School, Nai Abadi, Verka (Amritsar), the Education Department authorities have recommended the suspension of 11 teachers allegedly associated with the process and conduct of the examination.

The cancellation of the examination and recommendation of suspension have been ordered because of mass copying and cases of impersonation there. The examination of 174 students, who appeared in the examination held in February this year, will be reconducted from March 14. The school authorities have been directed to make preparations accordingly. The authorities have recommended that in future the fixing of photographs of the students concerned on admission forms for the examination should be made mandatory in the entire state to check impersonation at the primary level.

The teachers whose suspension has been recommended on the basis of the inquiry report prepared by Mr Baldev Raj, Deputy Director (Evaluation), State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT), Punjab, are Ms Rajinder Kaur, Ms Kulwant Kaur, Ms Parveen Kaur and Mr Baldev Raj, Headmaster of the elementary school.

The others whose suspension has been recommended are Ms Raminder Bedi, superintendent of the examination centre, Ms Surinder Kaur, Ms Vir Kaur, Ms Raj Rani, Ms Jagjit Kaur and Ms Balwinder Kaur, all members of the staff conducting the examination. Besides, the suspension of Ms Kanwaljit Kaur, Block Elementary Education Officer, has also been recommended.

Mr Sadhu Singh Randhawa, Director, SCERT, agreeing with the inquiry report, has forwarded it to the Secretary, School Education, it is learnt. The action against the teachers has been recommended on a charge of dereliction while on duty. In fact, according to sources, the inquiry officer has stated that certain teachers were responsible for mass copying and cases of impersonation.

Following directions from his superiors, Deputy Director Baldev Raj had conducted a surprise check of the examination centre at Verka on February 12. Six cases of impersonation were detected besides mass copying. There were some students of Class IV who were appearing in place of Class V students. And some outsiders were found writing papers for students. A day before the checking by Mr Baldev Raj, the Parliamentary Secretary (School Education), Mr Raj Kumar, had visited the examination centre and many persons had complained to him regarding mass copying there. He had then spoken to Mr Randhawa, also Controller of Examinations, to take steps to check copying.

Informed sources said that the inquiry report submitted by Mr Baldev Raj had pointed out that the seating arrangements of students were made in such a manner that these provided an easy opportunity for mass copying. There were certain examinees who appeared only in one paper while other papers of theirs were written by other students. On the attendance sheet of the examinees, there were differences in the signatures of the actual students and the impersonators. In fact, in certain cases the impersonators were unable to spell correctly on the attendance sheet the names of the examinees concerned.

The sources said that during the course of the inquiry, Mr Baldev Raj found that there were irregularities in certain examination admission forms. Some students admitted that the other persons had signed the forms in their place.


SDMs to check exam centres
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 4
Following reports of mass copying in the board examinations of the PSEB that started yesterday, the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, has ordered SDMs to conduct surprise checking in examination centres.

Talking to The Tribune, the Deputy Commissioner said besides the SDMs, the SSP, Gurdaspur, had been directed to depute SHOs for surprise checking of examination centres. Every effort would be made to stop copying in exams, he said.

The District Education Officer, Secondary, Mr Avtar Singh, said flying squads had been deputed to check mass copying. The trend of mass copying in the district has been continuing since the dark days of militancy. During those days, supervision was slack in rural areas and that encouraged copying.

However, this year special raids are being conducted with the help of the police to check mass copying. Yesterday, a large number of people had gathered at Kalanaur Senior Secondary School to help their kin in the exams. The police was called and the entire crowd around the centres was sent away. Dera Baba Nanak, Sri Hargobindpur and remote areas along the border are the worst affected in terms of mass copying. This year special efforts had been made to curtail the practice in the area. This had improved the situation to a large extent, he said.

However, some members of the district-level flying squads constituted by the board hold the new policy of the PSEB responsible for increasing cases of copying. They allege that the PSEB has deputed just one flying squad for about 30 to 40 examination centres spread in an area of about 25 sq km.


School board teams to visit sensitive centres
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 4
Teams will be sent to the sensitive examination centres to find out whether question papers, despatched by the Punjab School Education Board, are lying in safe custody and the seals put on them are intact.

This was stated by Prof Harbans Singh Sidhu, Chairman of the board, while addressing a press conference here today. He said the teams would be conducting surprise checks in this regard, especially in the border areas and also in Ludhiana which had appeared to become a centre of illegal activities in connection with the board examinations.

Prof Sidhu said that there was a rumour in Ludhiana yesterday that the board question paper of Hindi examination, relating to Class X, had leaked.

In fact, it was even reported in a section of the Press today and the Controller of Examinations, Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, kept receiving phone calls in this connection till late at night.

The Chairman said that after trying to verify the actual position, it was found that someone had tried to play a mischief or make money by copying the Hindi question paper of the board examination conducted in September last year, which was later circulated to some persons, including the media.

The examination in Hindi was conducted by the board today.

Talking about the unchecked answersheets found from a park in Phase III B 2 here, the Chairman said that the mathematics and political science examination of Classes X and XII, respectively, conducted in March last year had been later cancelled due to the leakage of question papers.

A re-examination was conducted in both the subjects. As such a number of unchecked answersheets were lying with the board which were disposed of on March 1 and 2.

He said it was possible that some unchecked answersheets fell from trucks carrying them and someone had picked those up.


90,000 hectares of wheat damaged in
hailstorm: CM

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that about 90,000 hectares of wheat crop had been damaged in hailstorm last month. He said although the rain was good, the hailstorm caused considerable damage to crops in several areas and the exact extent of the loss was being assessed.

Inaugurating a two-day kisan mela being organised by Punjab Agricultural University here today, the Chief Minister said the final girdawari report of the damaged crops would be completed within 10 days following which the government would decide upon the relief measures. He said a good crop was expected this year as the rain had increased the water level in reservoirs, which would provide some respite.

Capt Amarinder Singh reiterated the need for diversification in agriculture for longer and sustained economic growth in the state. He said although it appeared to be difficult, over a period of time everybody would realise the necessity to diversify as traditional crops were not economically viable.

He pointed out that the way the land holdings were getting smaller and smaller there was a need to produce more. Reacting to the observation of the Parliamentary Secretary (Agriculture), Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, that farmers had no other viable option but to go for paddy and wheat crop only, the Chief Minister said change in the beginning appeared to be difficult, but in the longer run it served the interests of farmers.

He pointed out that India imported pulses worth Rs 10,000 crore every year, which could be produced in the country. He said the way PAU had scripted the great success of the Green Revolution 40 years ago, it would have to do it again. He admitted that there was paucity of funds for research in PAU, but assured that his government would try its best to make substantial grants to the university.

He said, “It is our duty to ensure that we are able to produce maximum yield from minimum land like they have been doing in Japan”. He asked scientists at PAU to bring in new varieties of seeds and experiment with new crops, which were economically viable.

The PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, also made a strong case for crop diversification, saying that it was the need of the hour and there was no other way out.


Inquiry indicts bank MD
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 4
The inquiry into the financial scam in the Pathankot-based Hindu Cooperative Bank has indicted the Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Mr Suresh Gupta. The Registrar Cooperative Societies, Mr Vishavjit Khanna, has indicted the bank MD for investing public money in non-government bonds and weak financial institutions in gross violation of the rules and abusing his position to give direct benefit to his real brother.

The report has also recommended penalty for the indicted official and recovery of money invested in non-government bonds. Highly placed sources in the Department of Cooperatives said the report had been submitted to the Minister for Cooperatives, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa. The minister is likely to decide on the penalty against the MD.

The Department of Cooperatives initiated an inquiry into the corruption allegations in the bank on orders of the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa who earlier held the charge of the Cooperative Department.

In the inquiry report, the major charge against bank MD is that he invested public money in non-government bonds and financially unstable institutions. It has been alleged that the bank purchased 6000 bonds of Industrial Investment Bank of India, a Calcutta-based institution, despite the fact that it was in poor financial health. Further, the bonds were sold on April 15 and 19 this year at a price of Rs 17900 per bond against the prevailing market rate of Rs 17950 on that day.

After selling the bonds of the above said bank the MD purchased bonds worth Rs 7 crore 84 thousand of another weak financial institution Vadodra Hotel and Bridge at a price 40 paise per bond higher than the prevailing market rate. Besides, allegations have also been levelled that bank money was invested in poor financial institutions such as Himachal Pradesh SDL.

All the said financial bonds purchased by the MD were non-government bonds. However, such investments in non-government bonds is prohibited. The MD in his statement before the inquiry officers has, however, maintained that the bank did not incur any loss due to investment in these bonds.

The other allegation against the MD is that he enrolled his real brother, Mr Ashok Gupta, on the panel of the bank. At present, Mr Ashok Gupta is the sole lawyer on the panel of the Hindu Cooperative Bank at Pathankot.

The MD when asked to comment on the issue had said that earlier there were four lawyers including his brother, on the panel of the bank. Two them died while the third is the congress MLA from Pathankot. Now his brother is the sole lawyer on panel by chance.


Jobless man ‘kills’ wife, kids; claims
assailants did it

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 4
Frustrated due to unemployment a young electronics mechanic went berserk and allegedly killed his wife and his two children. Later, to escape from the charge of the killings he also cooked up a story that his family had been attacked by some unidentified assailants in their house in New Rasila Nagar locality here on Friday morning.

Sushil, electronics mechanic, after allegedly committing the triple murder, then got himself admitted to the Civil Hospital at about 6.45 a.m this morning claiming that he had consumed Celphos tablets. From the Civil Hospital he then rang up his brother-in-law, friends and relatives and asked them to inquire about his family as he suspected some foul play, he claimed.

Subsequent inquiries by his brother-in-law Sukhdev Kumar led to detection of the crime, about which, Sushil repeatedly showed ignorance and said it could have been committed by some unidentified assailants.

But according to the police theory Sushil had allegedly his 25-year-old wife Pooja, six-year-old son Jatin and eight-year-old daughter Sofi. Sushil hailed from Amritsar and was living in 109, New Rasila Nagar near Basti Danishmandan as a tenant. He had been working as an electronics mechanic till about six months ago, but, had lately left his job and was allegedly in habit of gambling.

Mr Charanjit Singh, DSP, City-1, said Sushil was apparently frustrated over his unemployed status for quite some and used to fight with his wife and other family members over trivial issues.

Just a few days back, compromise between Pooja and her husband was effected by his brother-in-law Sukhdev Kumar. Sushil, according to police sources, had not even paid rent of his house for past some months.

He allegedly killed Pooja and Jatin by stabbing them with a dagger and strangulated Sofi to death with a rope.

Pushpa, Pooja’s mother, who hailed from local Dilbag Nagar and Sudesh, another relative from Amritsar, rushed the to Civil Hospital immediately after learning about the triple murder.

Dr Sudesh Dadra of the Civil Hospital said was out of danger. But Sushil was either keep silent or mumbled some incoherent words. “Where are they? I feel pain in my stomach,” was all he uttered to this correspondent. He, however, told the police that he had been kidnapped by men hired by a woman against whom he had deposed as a witness in a murder case and that his family might have been done to death by those people. In that said case a woman of Basti Danishmandan had allegedly killed her husband and Sushil was a witness in this case. But police inquiries revealed that the case had been closed after a compromise and ,thus, Sushil was no more an effective witness.

Not believing the story of Sushil, the police, had then booked him under Section 302 of the IPC.

The police sources claimed that on his way to the Civil Hospital, Sushil had reportedly called up one of his neighbours on his phone and had urged him to see whether his family was ok. At 6.35 am he had rung up Sukhdev Kumar to enquire about his family as he was away, Sushil had claimed.

Sukhdev Kumar told the police, “I was stunned to see dead bodies of my sister and two kids when I opened the door of their room after I was asked to enquire about them by Sushil”. He, however, denied that there used to be frequent quarrels between his sister and Sushil. “There was no such thing. They were living peacefully and Sushil was earning for my sister and her kids. I cannot say with surety what could be the reason behind all this,” said Sukhdev Kumar.

On the other hand, Surinder Kumar, who claimed to be a relative of Sushil, said he believed Sushil had killed his wife and two children. Friends and relatives of Sushil were seen claiming that Sushil had not committed the crime and rather he was a victim of a conspiracy.


One held for bid to encash US bond
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 4
Mr Punam Chand Sharma, a resident of Sadbhawna Nagar, Sriganganagar, was nabbed by the police while trying to get cash against a million (10 lakh) dollar American bond-1988, Circle Inspector Tribhuvan Singh said today.

Official sources said a fifteen-day procedure was adopted for encashing such bonds after clearance by the head office of the bank. The holders were entitled to bonus and rebate in income tax in the country where such bonds were issued. The bond, seized by the police, carried signatures of the Director of USA Treasury and International Treasurer. As per instructions given overleaf, it could be encashed at any foreign currency exchange branch. Bank officials, however, said Mr Sharma had not made inquiries from them for encashing the bond. The police nabbed him as soon he stepped out of the bank premises. The police had decided to send the bond for verification to the Reserve Bank of India, New Delhi. Sources said someone had informed the police as Mr Sharma had visited certain jewellers to know the procedure for encashing the bond.

He was working at a commission agent’s shop in the grain market run by Sukhwant Singh and Darshan Singh. Mr Sharma reportedly told the police that Mr Jagdip Singh of Mirzewala village gave him the bond to encash.

The police raided Mr Singh’s residence but he was not found there. The investigation team believes that it may point to a hawala racket as hundreds of residents of the border area have sent their kin to the USA, UK, Canada and other countries.

The police faced an embarrassing position on producing Mr Punam Chand Sharma. The District Attorney and the court questioned the propriety of the police in booking Mr Sharma under FERA which had already been repealed.

The accused was bailed out. The police revised its submission by stating that the culprit was to be tried under Section 8 (1) of the Foreign Currency Exchange Act, 1973.


Fresh FIRs to be registered in UBDC scam
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 4
Fresh FIRs will be registered by the police in the multi-crore UBDC scam. Highly placed sources told The Tribune that after the reopening of the inquiry into the case, the police had carried out investigation into the scam on five charges. On the basis of these charges, four fresh FIRs will be registered at Gurdaspur, while one would be registered in Amritsar since the offence was committed there.

After the registration of fresh FIRs, the police may arrest the officers allegedly involved in the case. The police has confiscated the entire record pertaining to the scam and is in the process of establishing the charges against the officers.

Most of the officers accused in the scam had earlier secured anticipatory bails after the previous FIRs were registered against them. However, now that the police has decided to register fresh FIRs, it will provide an opportunity to arrest the accused officers.

The FIR in the scam was registered on July 4, 2003, at the Pathankot police station. The inquiry into the case was initially being conducted by an IPS officer then posted at Gurdaspur. However, later the case was handed over to an inspector-level officer posted with the CIA staff in Pathankot.

Despite serious charges levelled against Irrigation Department officers, including chief engineers and superintendent engineers in the FIR under Sections 409, 418, 420, 466, 468, 471-A and 120-B of the IPC, no officer was arrested by the police.

The inquiry into the scam was conducted by a committee headed by Mr Bhagat Singh Sandhu, a former adviser on irrigation to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

In the inquiry report it has been stated that after the construction of the Ranjit Sagar Dam, a need was felt for remodelling the UBDC system. A project was submitted to the Government of India to increase the capacity of UBDC canals in view of increased discharges from the Ranjit Sagar Dam. In January, 2001, the Government of India passed a project of Rs 178.80 crore under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP).

The project was to be implemented in four years, inculcating an expenditure of Rs 27.80 crore in the first year and Rs 50 crore each in the remaining three years. However, the inquiry revealed that irrigation officials spent 65 per cent of the project funds — Rs 120 crore — within 22 months against the stipulated period of 48 months.

The committee noticed glaring anomalies in the implementation of the project. Irrigation Department officials got remodelled just 194 pucca structures of the canal against 913 recommended in the project. In contrast to that the entire estimate of Rs 1.44 crore provided in the project for earth works was exhausted in the first 22 months. Despite the exhaustion of the said budget, many works where earth works were required to be carried were still pending.

As per rules, any estimate of more than Rs 50 lakh should have been discussed with the technical committee constituted for the purpose. However, the chief engineers concerned sanctioned the budget on their own without consulting the technical committee.

Besides, the inquiry committee alleged that bungling in allotment of tenders, fixation of rates and tampering with records were committed by executive engineers (Works) and the Chief Engineer.


Hurdles cleared for Bt cotton
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Hurdles have been cleared for sowing Bollgard (Bt) cotton in Punjab from this season. Conceding to the long-pending demand of farmers, the Centre today approved six varieties of hybrid Bt cotton for commercial cultivation. The decision was taken after the meeting of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee in New Delhi.

The development is significant as Punjab, along with Haryana and Rajasthan, is producing 25 to 30 per cent of the country’s cotton. Agriculture experts claim that the cultivation of Bt Cotton will result in a net increase of income by Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per hectare.

They add that the area under Bt cotton has increased by estimated 400 per cent in the country to reach 500,000 hectares in 2004. Quoting a report on biotech crops, released recently by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), the experts assert that India rank third among the world’s cotton producing countries.

The country’s share was 12.3 per cent of the global cotton production. China ranked first with 22 per cent, while the United States was second with 19.4 per cent.

Heavy losses due to damage by bollworms is reportedly one of the reasons behind the country’s comparative low cotton production. Referring to the Government of India’s official estimates, Mumbai-based firm Monsanto India Limited claims that Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have earlier suffered a colossal loss of Rs 1,363. 6 crore.

Giving details of the losses, the firm claims that the affected areas are assessed at “4.53 lakh hectares in Punjab, 3.55 lakh hectares in Haryana and 2.58 lakh hectares in Rajasthan”.

Referring to the findings of another survey conducted by A.C. Nelsen-PRG Marg, the company says better yield, low pesticide costs and higher profits are some of the benefits. A Punjab Government officer adds that the yield will increase by estimated 25 per cent to 28 per cent per hectare compared to normal hybrids.

Experts add that the economic benefits of Bt cotton came from its superior bollworm control. It results in cost saving of 50 per cent on insecticides and labour. The benefits are, perhaps, the reason why approximately 8.25 million farmers in 17 countries planted biotech crops last year - nearly 1.25 million more compared to 2003.

The varieties cleared are RCH 134 Bt, RCH 317 Bt, Ankur 651 Bt, Ankur 2534 Bt, MRC 6301 Bt and MRC 6304 Bt. Expressing satisfaction, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, says the decision will give an impetus to the government’s much desired agriculture diversification programme.


Badal to recast party units by March-end, says Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Nankiana Sahib (Sangrur), March 4
After his re-election as President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) last yaer, Mr Parkash Singh Badal has reportedly made up his mind to announce the organisational set up of the party during this month. Many aspirants for different posts of the party have been waiting for this announcement for the past more than eight months.

To a question, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP from Sangrur and a senior leader of the SAD, said here today Mr Badal had told him that he would announce party’s organisational set up soon. He said this announcement would be made by the March-end. He further said in the proposed organisational set up, besides office-bearers, like vice-presidents, general secretaries, there would be a 51-member working committee and 101-member special committee.

Mr Dhindsa was here in connection with a meeting of the party for making preparations for the first death anniversary of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra on March 6 at Tohra village and organisation of a function on March 10 at Dhanaula, near Barnala, to honour the participants of Punjabi Suba Morcha and freedom fighters of the country, belonging to the SAD.

Mr Dhindsa also said after the announcement of party’s organisational set up, the office-bearers of other wings of the party, including youth wing, mahila wing, SC wing, kisan wing, would also be announced. Later, office-bearers of the remaining district units of the party would be announced. He also said the party would make efforts to adjust all deserving persons in the organisational set up. He also asked the workers to work hard to further strengthen the party at village-level.

The SAD leader also disclosed that the SAD would chalk out a peaceful agitational programme against the “atrocities”, being “committed by the Congress” at the Centre and state level, on the people.


BJP submits memorandum to DC
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 4
Leaders of the local unit of the BJP yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, to be forwarded to President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, against the decision of Jharkhand Governor to invite Mr Shibu Soren for the formation of government.

The president of the unit, Mr Vijay Kumar Puri, said the Governor did not invite the NDA alliance which had claimed support of 36 MLAs as against the support of 26 MLAs to Mr Soren.


NCC in border areas being reorganised
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The National Cadet Corps (NCC) establishments along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab are being prepared for a more meaningful role in case of outbreak of hostilities or war-like situation between the neighbours.

Three NCC battalions in the state have been earmarked for the purpose. These will be brought under the operational control of a single group headquarters and cadets would be imparted specialised training.

“We have received a letter from the Punjab government a few days ago, approving in principle the re-organisation and reinforcement of the NCC in the border belt of Punjab,” Deputy Director General NCC, Brig D S Dhillon said. “The matter will be taken up with the NCC Directorate General at New Delhi on receipt of formal approval,” he added.

“In view of the latent threat of terrorism and the omnipresent threat of a conventional war, the NCC organisation in the border region needs to be strengthened,” Brigadier Dhillon said. “Presently, the NCC is virtually non-existent in border areas,” he added.

It is proposed that an existing group headquarters be re-located in a border area or a new group headquarters be raised within the existing resources. The three to be brought under this group include, 22 Punjab NCC Battalion at Batala, 13 Punjab NCC Battalion at Ferozepur and 2 Punjab Independent NCC Company at Abohar Punjab has four group headquarters, each controlling several Army, air force and naval battalions or units.

The revised syllabus being proposed for the units include aspects of offensive, defence and counter-insurgency operations. Security of lines of communication, security of rear areas, traffic control, pooling local resources and manning offices are among topics to be taught. Activities on the counter-insurgency front would include providing intelligence on insurgent activities, acting as nodal points for launching psychological operations, man Army-police liaison offices, assist in security of local sensitive areas and organise and train village defence committees.

“The NCC came under pressure during Operation Parakram as well as during the Kargil conflict,” Brigadier Dhillon said. In Punjab, at present, there are just two NCC units based in districts adjoining the international border with Pakistan, with one located at Gurdaspur and the other at Ferozepur.

Though the NCC charter restricts its cadets to non-combatant roles, they can conduct duties such as refugee management, directing traffic, escorting convoys in rear echelons, build shelters and guarding property. “During Operation Parakram, NCC cadets from Gurdaspur were involved in escorting military convoys in rear areas, while cadets ferried ammunition to forward posts during the Kargil conflict,” Brigadier Dhillon said.

NCC officers said that during Operation Parakram cadets had also carried out numerous civil-defence drills, conducted lectures on public safety, manned air-raid sirens and interacted with civil defence authorities.


‘Darbar Sahib is original name’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 4
The decision of the SGPC to stop using the words Golden Temple for Sri Darbar Sahib and Sri Harmandar Sahib was taken during the presidentship of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then SGPC chief and it was just endorsement of the earlier resolution passed in the general house last month.

This was claimed by Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, an executive member of the SGPC who had coordinated in preparing the dossier on Harmandar Sahib, sent to UNESCO for declaring it World Heritage Site. She said the decision to ban the expression ‘Golden Temple’, was taken in her absence on February 9 during the executive meeting. Bibi Kiranjot Kaur claimed that the nomination sent to UNESCO was in the name of ‘Sri Harmandar Sahib’. She said the other words ‘Sri Darbar Sahib’ and ‘Golden Temple’ were mentioned in the dossier because it (Sri Harmandar Sahib was also known by the names in the world.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former secretary, SGPC, expressed concern over the ‘hue and cry’ raised by certain sections over the imposition of ban on the words ‘Golden Temple’. He said it was shocking that the decision of the SGPC was being projected as a move against Hinduism.

He said why had not anybody objected when names of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta were changed to Mumbai, Chennai and kolkata? Mr Calcutta said after gold plating of Harmandar Sahib, the British started calling it Golden Temple which should be taken as an ‘adjective’.

The original name is Sri Harmandar Sahib and Darbar Sahib and nobody should try to derive any mileage out of it. 


Gastroenteritis in Jalandhar
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 4
Gastroenteritis has gripped Basti Bawa Khel area where as many as 352 residents have been found to be afflicted by what the district health authorities described ‘minor gastro’ during past two days.

Though the exact reasons behind the spread of the disease has not been ascertained as yet, the district health authorities apprehended that the disease could have been caused by supply of dirty water in the area.

As many as seven water samples have been sent for detailed examination. Preliminary checking by the health authorities determined that water was not only stinking but was yellowish in colour at different places in Basti Bawa Khel and surrounding localities such as Raj Nagar, New Raj Nagar, Guru Ram Dass Nagar, Madhuban Colony, Shahid Babu Labh Singh Nagar, Bank Colony.

Irked residents alleged that despite repeated complaints, the Municipal Corporation authorities failed to ensure proper supply of potable water. “Not only this, you can see unhealthy sanitary conditions amidst which we are forced to live. Nobody bothers to clean up the area,” lamented Mr Rajiv Kumar of Basti Bawa Khel. Insanitation was widely prevalent in adjoining localities like Gautam Nagar, Katehran Mohalla and Bhaiya colony, where heaps of garbage greeted visitors. On the other hand, anguish of residents seemed to have worked as the MC started supplying drinking water with the help of tankers.

When contacted, Dr Y.S. Markan, Civil Surgeon, dubbed the disease as ‘minor gastro’. “We have not admitted any patient so far as OPD treatment has been given to them. We have distributed 6000 tablets of chlorine among residents, who have been asked to boil water before drinking it,” he said.


3-days after typhoid cases, corpn says all is okay
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 4
Three days after cases of gastroenteritis and typhoid were reported from the Khalsa Mohalla here, the Municipal Corporation today released a press release to announce that it had carried out checks in Khalsa Mohalla and found the water being supplied to the locality fit for drinking.

The corporation press release while quoting Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu, however, revealed that during checking its staff had disconnected leaking water pipelines running in drains along the houses. It said residents of 18 houses, whose connections could become a reason for contamination, had been given two days to set them right.

The release said it was also revealed that in Dhankan Mohalla adjoining the Khalsa Mohalla some residents had build small water tanks in front of their houses. It said during checking it was revealed that sometimes water from these tanks flowed back in the corporation pipes contaminating the water supply. The residents of Dhankan Mohalla have been given asked to increase the height of water pipes besides being told to remove the water tanks.

Corporation staff has also done door-to-door checking in all the areas where residents had complained of contaminated water. According to the Corporation release there was no complaint of contaminated water though some residents did complain that they were getting sand particles alongwith the water being supplied to them.

As a precautionary measure, the corporation has closed tubewell nearest to Khalsa Mohalla. Besides this it has doubled the chlorination water being drawn from nearby tubewells of Sheranwala Gate, Dhob Ghat, Tara Singh Park, Kashmirian Toba and Arya Samaj.

Meanwhile Officiating Civil Surgeon, Dr V.S. Mohi said 5,000 chlorine tablets were distributed in the Khalsa Mohalla and nearby areas to ensure safety from water borne diseases. He said no new cases of gastroenteritis or typhoid had been reported from the area and that the situation was under control.


Preneet honours physiotherapist
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 4
Patiala mp Preneet Kaur today honoured pysiotherapist Dewan Asgran Nabi at a function organised by Punjab State Electricity Board Member Hardial Singh Kamboj.

Mrs Preneet Kaur said Nabi, who is working in the National Institute of Sports, was doing a yeoman service in the field of physiotherapy by rendering service to sports persons and athletes in the region. Nabi is an expert in cervical spondylistis, back ache and knee joint pain.

Earlier Nabi was honoured by Indian Olympic Association Secretary General Raja Randhir Singh during the Indo Pak Games. PSEB member Hardial Singh Kamboj said Nabi besides catering to rehabilitation of athletes was also working for promotion to physiotherapy as a discipline and was being recognised for these services. 


Kalam’s visit deferred
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 4
The much-awaited visit of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to inaugurate Pushpa Gujral Science City scheduled for March 19 has been postponed.

Though no official communique in this regard has reached the offices at Kapurthala or Chandigarh, a verbal message regarding the same was received from the office of the President here today. No reason has been cited for the delay. Also, the next date has not been announced.

Dr R.S. Khandpur, director general of science city, confirmed that a message had reached his office but he emphasised that the programme had not been cancelled.


Ex-servicemen donate Rs 5 lakh for tsunami relief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Ex-servicemen in Punjab have contributed Rs 5 lakh besides a large amount of relief material in kind towards the rehabilitation and welfare of people affected by the recent tsunami tragedy.

In addition, all officers and staff of the Directorate of Sainik Welfare have contributed one day’s salary towards the relief operations.

A cheque for Rs 3.20 lakh was presented to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today. 


Hindu jatha to leave for Pak tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 4
A 220-member strong Hindu jatha would leave for pilgrimage to Katasraj in Pakistan from Wagah joint checkpost on March 6.

Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, said that 221 persons had applied for visas, of which one was rejected on technical ground.


‘Hind Di Chadar’ staged
Our Correspondent

Nabha, March 4
A special show of Ravinder Singh Sodhi’s famous historical play, “Hind Di Chadar”, was staged for the students of Punjab Public School, Nabha.

The Patiala Art Theatre under the direction of Gulzar Pawar, has already staged this play 15 times in different parts of Punjab. The production kept the audience spellbound for more than an hour.

The play first published in 1975 still has its relevance even today.


Khalra case: witness not grilled on deposition
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 4
The defence today grilled Special Police Officer Kuldeep Singh about his whereabouts after he deposed against former DGP K P S Gill and other police officers in the Jaswant Singh Khalra disappearance case. The incident relating to torture of the human rights activist as well as disposing of the body which he disclosed in his diposition to the court on February 16 was not touched upon despite today being the third day of cross examination.

The defence lawyers tried to paint a picture that the star CBI witness had deliberately stayed away from four court hearings in the case after he deposed against the police officials. He was asked about his location from February 17 to 20 which he refuse to disclose due to “security reasons” and again from February 21 to 27 when he claimed he was at his home in Bachhray village in Taran Tarn as he had been prescribed medical rest.

The defence then went into a lengthy dialogue on who had taken him to the Taran Tarn Civil hospital, who accompanied him, was his blood tested, did he record his income, did he go for follow up treatment and did he obtain a fitness certificate from any doctor of the hospital. Kuldeep denied the charges that he had not taken any medical treatment and that the medical certificate was fabricated.

The defence lawyers also grilled Kuldeep about an earlier medical certificate obtained by him from Government Rajindra Hospital. He also denied allegations that he had masqueraded as someone else while applying for the medical certificate. He was also asked whether there was a telephone line at his residence, did he have a mobile phone and whether he was in the habit of defaulting on paying bills to public utilities.

Kuldeep was also questioned about the manner in which he had recorded his statement before the CBI. The witness disclosed that he had gone to Delhi on June 6, 1999 for this purpose. There were again detailed questions about when he reached, whether there was security picket outside the CBI office in Lodhi Estate, whether he disclosed his identity while going inside, whether he applied for leave before going to Delhi and why he did not join duty after registering his complaint.


PCA asserts its right to issue complimentary passes
Tribune News Service

Kharar, March 4
The Punjab Cricket Association in a reply filed before the Kharar court has asserted today its right to issue complimentary passes for the March 8 Indo-Pak Test match in Mohali.

The Punjab Cricket Association’s lawyer, Mr Rajesh Gupta, said since the PCA was an autonomous body, it could issue such passes. In reply to a case challenging the issuance of complimentary passes by the PCA he replied that the total sitting capacity of the stadium was kept in view before issuing the passes. Also, in certain cases where a sponsor or advertisers were involved, the issuance of these passes was contractual. In some cases, however, the issuance of these passes was obligatory or gratuitous, admitted the PCA. It was added that it was a matter of honour for the PCA to invite former players and other sports stars to see the match.

The Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Ms Poonam Ratti, has adjourned the case till tomorrow. On February 28, the court had served notice on the PCA following a case filed by Mr Arvind Thakur, President, Federation of Lawyers Against Corruption. Ms Ratti had on March 2, asked the PCA to file a reply in the case by today.

In his application, Mr Thakur had urged the court to restrain the PCA from issuing the complimentary passes for the forthcoming cricket match as it amounted to corruption. A large number of complimentary passes worth thousands of rupees each were being distributed among the bureaucrats, politicians and other influential persons, which disheartened the ticket seekers.

Terming the distribution of passes as corrupt practice under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the application alleged that taking anything beyond legal remuneration by officials and politicians amounted to illegal gratification. The PCA, in turn, expected pecuniary benefits from the beneficiaries of the complimentary passes, it alleged.


high court
Sehajdharis’ plea on SGPC voting rights admitted
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, today admitted the petition filed by the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation of India. Admitting the petition, the Bench ordered that the same be heard within one year.

The petitioners have sought quashing of the notification issued by the government that bars Sehajdhari Sikhs from casting their votes in the SGPC elections.

The petitioners have stated that the government, which issued the amended notification based on SGPC’s recommendation in 2003, had no authority to do so. They also maintain that such a step should have had Parliament’s sanction.


Justice Nirmal Singh to join J&K Bench
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been transferred to Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Mr Justice Nirmal Singh’s wife Paramjit Kaur Gulshan is a Shiromani Akali Dal MP from Bathinda. He is expected to take oath in the J&K High Court later this month.


New housing board Chief Administrator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Mr Chhatar Singh, awaiting posting orders, has been posted as Chief Administrator, Housing Board, Haryana, relieving Mr Alok Nigam of the charge.

The post of Chief Administrator has been declared equivalent in status and responsibilities to that of Secretary to the Government, Haryana in the Commissioner’s rank.


Train dacoity: 2 more held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 4
The Khanna police has arrested two more accused involved in the train dacoity in which one person was killed and two were injured by seven armed dacoits on February 26 on the Jalandhar-Delhi bound Super Express. However, the kingpin of the gang, Krishn Mishra, is still absconding. The police had already arrested four accused. The police also recovered weapons used in the dacoity and some articles looted by them.

The SSP Khanna, Mr Pramod Ban, while producing the two accused before mediaperson said that the accused had confessed their involvement in the crime. The SSP said that a team led by DSP Rajeshwar Singh had succeeded in tracing these accused. The arrested accused are Suraj Mandal, and Vicky Pandey.

The police also recovered two country-made pistols and a knife with blood on it. The police also recovered two gold rings, which were looted by the accused.

The accused told reporters that the plan to loot the train passengers was the brainchild of the gang leader Krishna Mishra. They said that they had come in the connection of Mishra one and half month ago.

The police then produced the accused before the court of K.K. Goel Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate Khanna who remanded them in police custody till March 7.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General Railway Police, Delhi, Mr Sudhir Avasthi, along with Senior Divisional Security Commissioner Ferozepore Mr Rattan Chand, and Divisional Security Commissioner Ambala PVS Shanta Ram visited Khanna today.

He met the SSP Khanna. He also met Mr Bushan Kumar a victim of the train dacoity. An identification parade was also taken out before the victim in the presence of IG where the victim had identified two accused.


Undertrial escapes from court complex
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 4
An undertrial, Rajwinder Singh, alias Raju, today escaped from the police custody while he was produced in the court of the Judicial Magistrate in the Ropar district court. He was brought from the Patiala jail in the afternoon.

He had been recently arrested by the police under various sections of the Arms Act and a case against him was registered at the Chamkaur Sahib police station.

Police sources said the incident took place in the afternoon when there was great rush in the court complex. Taking advantage of the huge gathering, Rajwinder escaped from the police custody.

The city police has registered a case under Sections 223 and 224 of the IPC against the police personnel who brought him from the Patiala jail.


44-year-old woman murdered
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 4
Jaspal Kaur (44) was killed by two unidentified persons past midnight at Dholipal village on the Abohar — Sadulshehar road.

According to Monu (5), granddaughter of the victim, two persons forced entry into the one room house at about 12.30 am.

They caught Jaspal Kaur by the neck and hit her with a sharp-edged weapon, leaving her in a pool of blood.

The terrified minor girl informed the neighbours about the incident after dawn. The husband of the victim was away to Gaziabad.

The body was handed over to relatives after post-mortem yesterday. The police has registered a case and rounded up certain persons for interrogation.


NRI arrested on kidnapping charge
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, March 4
The police has arrested an NRI in the kidnapping case of Pankaj Kumar, a youth hailing from Bahmanwala village, who went missing about four months back.

Sources said prior to his “abduction” 19-year-old Pankaj had been working as a salesman with Ganesh Trading Company for a year. He disappeared under mysterious circumstances when he had gone to recover some dues on October 11, 2004.

His father, Mr Kewal Krishan, had lodged a report at the City police station here on October 12.

Three months after the incident Pankaj’s father received a ransom call on his neighbour’s phone. The “abductor” made some more calls later too.

Pankaj’s family members succeeded in tracing the caller’s mobile number from which he was making calls. The police nabbed the accused, Gurtej Singh of Sasuana village in Moga, after coming to know of his identity through a mobile company.


Woman run over, killed
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 4
An elderly woman was killed, while a cyclist got injured when a truck ran her over before hitting the cyclist and crashing on the roadside near Gulabi Bagh here today.

Sources said the mishap occurred when the truck was moving with speed on the wrong side of the road. The truck first crushed a woman to death and then overturned hitting a cyclist.

The woman, who died on the spot, is yet to be identified, while the cyclist has been identified as Sada Ram, a resident of Bedi Nagar.


ITI fees to be increased
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 4
The state government has decided to increase the annual fees and other charges for students studying in various industrial training institutes (ITIs) in Punjab in order to meet the growing expenditure and mobilise resources to provide basic infrastructural facilities in the institutes.

Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Science and Technology, and Industrial Training, stated this while presiding over the annual function of the ITI (Boys) here today. He said the fees would go up from Rs 3,400 to around Rs 12,000 this year.

Mr Pandey said efforts would be made to fill more than 500 vacant posts, including those of instructors and clerks in various ITIs in the state. He said an inquiry would be initiated against private technical education and industrial training institutes charging exorbitant fees from students.

Mr Pandey said his ministry would request the state government to allocate more funds in the Budget for improving the infrastructure of the ITIs in Punjab.

He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the ITI (Boys) and distributed prizes to outstanding students.


Experts dwell on new trends in IT
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 4
“It is very heartrending that even in the 21st century India has to import mobile handsets and computer parts that are simply assembled here,” said Prof B.K. Kuthiala, Dean Media Studies, Guru Jambeshwar University, Hisar. He added that the faulty government policies had hampered the development of these technologies in the nation. He was addressing a workshop on “New Trends in Information Technology” at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, here today.

Talking to students, he said IT had crossed all barriers to provide information from across the globe in one room. “IT has crossed time and distances, and now information flow is very rapid,” he said.

Prof Kuthiala expressed apprehension over the misuse of IT, especially Internet.

Dr H.P.S. Walia, Head of the department, said the knowledge of IT was inevitable for media students. “IT has made the flow of information faster and superior, which is very essential for the journalists.”

He added the some government agencies were trying to hamper the free flow of IT to rural areas.

Dr Gurmeet Maan, Lecturer, said: “Consumers can now bypass old media structures by setting up their own electronic networks, resulting into a new kind of democratic communication environment.”

Dr Johal, Reader, took a serious view of the widening divide between the haves and the have nots. “The elite of the society are gaining from the information as they have easy access to it but what about the less privileged ones?”


Ahluwalia heads Dental College
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, march 4
Dr Tej Pal Ahluwalia was promoted as Principal, Dental College, Patiala, by the Punjab Government today.

Dr Ahluwalia was earlier working as Vice-Principal, Government Dental College here. The promotion orders were signed by Mr Sarvesh Kaushal Secretary, Ministry of Medical Education and Research.


450 students get prizes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 4
The Governor of Kerala, Mr R.L. Bhatia, distributed prizes among 450 students of DAV College here today.

Of the total prizes, 325 were given to students for their academic performances, while the rest went to sportspersons. On the occasion, the Governor read out a very thought-provoking address wherein he congratulated the prize winners and advised them to achieve greater heights.

Principal M.L. Aeri presented the annual report. Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister for Revenue, Rehabilitation, Relief and Resettlement and NRIs, was the guest of honour.


Youth festival at Polytechnic College
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 4
Mr Pritpal Singh of the Punjab Institute of Textile Technology, Amritsar, got first position in the mono acting competition on the second day of seventh inter-polytechnic youth festival being held at the local Government Polytechnic College. While both, Sarbjit Singh of Lord Krishna Polytechnic, Kapurthala, and Gurpreet Singh of Government Polytechnic, Guru Teg Bahadurgarh, got the second position.

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, who inaugurated the second-day function, said that the students should also concentrate on extra-curricular activities along with their regular studies.

He said that such youth festivals not only provided an opportunity to youngsters in developing their talent and skill but they also nourish the rich cultural values of society.

In the skit competitions, Mehar Chand Polytechnic, Jalandhar, bagged the first position, while Government Polytechnic College, Bathinda, and the Punjab Institute of Textile Technology, Amritsar, shared the second position.


Jewellers continue strike
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, March 4
The strike by jewellers and goldsmiths today received a massive response as all gold markets in the city remained closed against the decision of the UPA government to levy 2 per cent excise duty on branded jewellery.

It was the second day of the three-day strike called by the Punjab Saraffa Federation (PSF), the All-India Swarankar Sangh and the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM).

Gold markets, including Guru Bazaar, Batti Hatta, Katra Mohar Singh, Patel Chowk and Kittey wore a deserted look.

Mr Ram Lubhaya Ahuja, president of the PSF, said the excise tax would increase the interference of government officials in their day-to-day work.

Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president, PPBM, said they were not against the charging of tax but its methodology.

SOLAN: Protesting against the imposition of 2 per cent excise duty on branded jewellery, the local jewellers association on Thursday started an indefinite strike.

The association president, Mr Naresh Chand Verma, said this fresh 2 per cent levy would discourage jewellers from maintaining the desired standards.


Chemists seek exemption from VAT
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 4
The Ropar Chemists Association (RCA) yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Assistant Commissioner, Excise and Taxation Department, seeking to exempt medicines from sales tax and VAT.

The president of the RCA, Mr Arunjit Singh, said we had been selling medicines in retail to the needy patients on the prescription. But sometime patients had to return surplus medicines.

“Another problem is that so many medicines got expired and the rates of medicines keep fluctuating. In such conditions we have to return the medicines to the dealers and manufacturers” he said.

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